Total Fabrications fashions a special stage for the George Michael `Symphonica` Tour
Total Fabrications Ltd (TFL) recently launched an award winning product on the current George Michael ‘Symphonica’ tour; their new Video Tech Truss. But TFL’s involvement in the tour was more embracing, for down below the video wall the complete stage-set was manufactured by TFL, and once again TFL was able to introduce innovations to the production.
The stage had to provide a secure platform for a thirty-five piece orchestra, ten band, four backing vocalists and George Michael, and it needed to do so in the most understated fashion. Set-designer and Tour Director Ken Watts wanted it to look as minimalist and stylish as possible. “George was very clear about how he wanted the show to look, clean and neat,” said Watts. “Determining the stage set was a proportionate response; how much space do the musicians need? Once I got the placement arranged it was just a matter of sitting down with Chris Cronin at TFL and letting him engineer the details that make it work.”
Stage Manager Rik Benbow and his team of carpenters deal with the set on a daily basis, “Built from TFL’s Arena Deck modular staging system, the design is in layers; a curved horseshoe shaped top section with integral linear LED strips routed into the deck sections defines the back and sides, and gives George a platform above the band and orchestra. Then the decking steps down in terraces with a staircase down the centre, the band and orchestra spread to each side. The big thing is there’s a sub-stage, these different pieces sit on top. That means when we switch from large arenas to one of the smaller opera houses or concert halls we’re also playing, we can effectively pick and mix the elements of the stage set that fit and suit the venue.”
The rolling sub-stage is home to a fully plumbed dressing room, as well as dedicated work spaces for backline crew; a secondary TFL rolling platform for the two monitor mixing set-ups sits directly behind. Jem Matthews is part of the carpenter team summed it up, “there are three of us carpenters and two trucks full of staging; eighteen set carts; 182 decks. It is fast, easy to build, and a good solid system.”